Ode to almond butter
Next to chocolate, peanut butter is definitely my numero uno, gotta-eat-it-every-day food. There are no fewer than three kinds in our pantry right now (Skippy smooth with honey, PB&Co’s White Chocolate Wonderful, and a jar of organic, straight-to-the-point chunky from Kroger). But because I love it so very much, I have to ration it out. Usually, I enjoy a tablespoon on top of my oatmeal in the morning and, if the day’s been particularly difficult, I eat another tablespoon—topped with some chocolate chips—later in the evening. I have also been known to put it in my ice cream, dip carrots and celery into it, and mix it up with Kashi GoLean (because this combo really tastes like Nutter Butters—totally amazing). I (almost) never eat more than a two tablespoon serving in a day, and I try– sometimes– to make sure that the rest of what I consume is balanced, heavy on the produce, and considerably less fat-and calorie-dense.
Because I’ve been getting my daily quota of dietary fat from, ahem, other places (namely unbelievably decadent brownies) this week, however, I knew I needed to break the chocolate cycle. Not because there’s anything wrong with eating an obscene amount of one’s favorite food, exactly, but because I don’t want this body of mine to start hoping for, expecting, relying on that much chocolate regularly.
But a girl—this girl, at least—needs a treat. So naturally, I turned to peanut butter for inspiration and went on a wild Google search yesterday for a slightly healthier alternative to the cookie recipe that I have relied on for so long. And then I stumbled upon this: http://sweetandnatural.wordpress.com/2009/02/24/maple-almond-butter-cookies/
Now, I’ll be honest. I buy almond butter every once in a while, I’ll eat it in a pinch, and I appreciate its superior nutritionals– but it doesn’t do it for me the way peanut butter does. Something about this particular recipe (probably the lack of eggs, which makes dough-eating an option!), however, was intriguing. Because they don’t carry whole wheat pastry flour in our commissary, I went ahead and used 1/2 cup up AP flour and 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour. I also added chopped peanuts in addition to the almonds simply because I wanted to use up the rest of the Trader Joe’s trail mix we received for Christmas (and I’d already picked out all of the chocolate chunks, so it wasn’t really good for much anymore :)). As an afterthought, I tossed in a handful each of vanilla and cinnamon chips, just because I thought these puppies needed a little extra flair.
Oh. My. Goodness.
I think I might be an almond butter convert. These cookies are soft, just dense enough, and not overly sweet. The nuts add a perfect toasty crunch, and the cinnamon and vanilla chips provide a slight (and totally yummy) creaminess that sort of seals the deal for me.
It was, indeed, another baking success—which is great, and also dangerous. As soon as they cooled (and I tested three to make sure they weren’t poisonous), I tossed them in a Ziploc bag and into the freezer so that there wouldn’t be a repeat of this week’s Girls Gone Wild (With Brownies) 2011.
When I woke up this morning, I headed straight to the kitchen for breakfast: a smoothie made with frozen spinach, protein powder, unsweetened soy milk, crushed pineapple, and a banana.
And then I proceeded to eat three more still-frozen cookies.
Oatmeal, schmoatmeal. I’m preety sure that cookies make the perfect breakfast.